The only birthdays that matter are for children and dogs. Birthdays for adults just seem like obligations. Obligations for you to accept that you’re a year older, and obligations for those around you to acknowledge that year milestone by saying “Happy birthday, you old so n so!”. Or even worse at work where the obligation, or set precedent, is to hand a card around for everyone to sign so they can hand said card to you as a show of good faith. Or even worse, since it’s a set precedent when you don’t get that card at work you feel even worse. That is the worst, feeling lousy for not receiving a card you didn’t want in the first place.
Children’s birthdays are fun. Friends over, running around the house eating pizza, cake, ice cream, and getting away with out of control behavior because it’s your birthday. And you’re buzzing off that sugar cream frosting like a hippie on a rooftop on PCP.
Maybe a few of the friends whose parents aren’t religious, weird, or both let them spend the night. Blanket forts are made, ghost stories are told, and GI Joe battles are had till the early dawn. Breakfast is always pancakes and smoked sausage because you need more sugar, right?
A dog’s birthday is a milestone every year. Because someone figured out a long time ago that a dog ages 7 years for our one. So if you get your four-legged pal when you’re 8-years old, by the time you turn 11 old Cujo is 21. He can legally go buy beer, smokes, or be enlisted into the armed forces. What can you do? You can enter the 6th grade.
So every dog birthday counts because they age so much quicker. Squeaky toys are purchased, as are bags of treats. Maybe some scrambled eggs for breakfast, a long walk, then some extra play time on the living room floor. He or she is crowned “a good girl” or “a good boy” for the entire day. Barking at squirrels 70 yards away during your favorite show is acceptable on your dog’s birthday. Your dog is your best pal as they love you unconditionally, regardless of how utterly worthless you are.
So as an adult, birthdays are just another day. A day you go to work, get your groceries, mow the lawn, yell at strangers from your car, and do the typical daily duty of an adult. Today is my birthday, but it just feels like Wednesday.
Here’s the thing, I have kids and I have a dog. They don’t just love their own birthdays, they love all birthdays. And I’m still someone’s son, so my parents see this as another birthday to celebrate. I won’t be having friends over at their place for cake, ice cream, pizza, and GI Joe battles(though that doesn’t sound all that bad), but I’ll stop by their house on the way home from work at their request, and because I love my mom and dad.
I have an amazing wife that makes incredible birthday cakes, so why wouldn’t I at least acknowledge that on this day back in 1973 I was born unto this world in a small Midwestern hospital? If it means I get some cake from my wife and homemade cards from my kids, a visit with my parents, and an extra couple squirrel barks from my four-legged friend, why not? Who am I to deny others the joy of my birthday?
That’d be selfish.